Tissue expanders and magnetic resonance imaging: the "hot" breast implant

Ann Plast Surg. 1995 Dec;35(6):647-9. doi: 10.1097/00000637-199512000-00015.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) utilizes three electromagnetic fields to create images. Despite these electromagnetic fields and concern for patients with metallic implants, studies and clinical experience have demonstrated the safety of this modality in the presence of nonferromagnetic implants. However, little has been written about the use of MRI scans in patients with tissue expanders. We present a case of a woman who developed a burning sensation at the site of her tissue expander during an MRI scan. The sensation resolved rapidly once the scan was discontinued. The potential for metallic heating or motion within the electromagnetic field is discussed. Patients with tissue expanders who require MRI scans should be carefully questioned about localized symptoms in the region of their expander during the scan. However, the actual implications of the symptoms for this group of patients are unclear.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Breast Implants*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Contraindications
  • Female
  • Heating*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Mastectomy, Modified Radical
  • Metals
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma / surgery
  • Tissue Expansion Devices*


  • Metals